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Controls on Fantasy come into force tomorrow

30 May 2002

An order to classify the Fantasy range of drugs will be enforced from tomorrow, Associate Health Minister Hon Tariana Turia announced.

“From tomorrow it will be illegal for individuals to possess, produce, manufacture, sell, supply, import, or export these substances", Tariana Turia said.

The penalties are:

- up to 14 years imprisonment for importation, manufacture or supply (subject to presumption of supply)

- up to 10 years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit an offence

- up to three months imprisonment or $500 fine or both for possession.

The classification of fantasy, as Class B1 under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, follows a Cabinet decision in December 2001, and consideration of the issue by the Health Select Committee. This classification gives the police wide enforcement powers, including the ability to search premises and people without a warrant if they have reasonable grounds to believe an offence has been committed under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.

"Anyone wishing to use Fantasy-based chemicals including, gamma- hydroxybutyrate (GHB), 1,4 butanediol, (1,4-B) and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), for legitimate manufacturing purposes must have a proper licence.

The fantasy range of drugs depresses the central nervous system.

“A number of people have been hospitalised after taking fantasy. With these drugs, there is a fine line between achieving the effect the user is seeking, and having an overdose with potentially serious, even fatal consequences,” said Tariana Turia.

“These substances are highly unpredictable. A euphoric dose for one person could sedate another person. They also have a delayed effect. People can easily overdose accidentally, by taking additional doses before the first dose takes effect.

“But enforcement and penalties is not the full answer to drug abuse. Even with the new controls, the community must ensure that young people become more aware and better informed than is currently the case," she said.

“I am pleased that the Ministry of Health is amending its Dance Party Guidelines to include fantasy information, to complement the information on other dance party drugs such as amphetamines [speed] and Ecstasy,” said Tariana Turia.

Ends

The Expert Advisory Committee's report to the Minister along with other information about Fantasy and other drugs, and harm minimisation advice, is posted on the National Drug Policy Website http://www.ndp.govt.nz.

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